By Scott Prater
Tim Paget put an arrow through a 10-square-inch target from more than 50 yards away Friday at the Schriever Archery Range. The shot earned applause from his fellow competitors even though it succeeded in eliminating all of them from the inaugural Schriever Archery Competition.
“That was a heck of a shot,” said Seth Cannello, Schriever sports and fitness director and competition organizer. “We didn’t really want the competition to be finished so quickly, but in this knock-out style format, everybody got their chance. Tim was the fifth archer to attempt the shot and the only one who made it.”
Though Paget dashed everyone’s hopes in the first knock-out round, all six archers who made the final round relished the opportunity to compete in the first competition held at the Schriever Archery Range, which opened in April.
“Bow hunting season starts next weekend,” said fourth-place archer Andy Rowland. “The timing of this competition couldn’t have been better. I’ve been shooting every day, but shooting alone is different. When you get a bunch of people around, it changes things. I don’t know about everybody else, but I had butterflies, and that’s what you get when you’re hunting. This was a good simulation for the hunting experience.”
In all, 12 archers took part in the event, which started with a preliminary round.
Each participant shot three arrows at targets measuring 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards from the shooting line. Competitors earned points for every arrow that hit inside the intended target, the closer to the bulls eye their arrows hit, the more points they earned.
In the format devised by Cannello, archers added their points up and the top six advanced to the knock-out round.
In the knock-out round, the top preliminary performer was allowed to choose his shot. Everyone then had to attempt that shot and those who missed were knocked out, but only if one person made it.
Rowland, in first place following the preliminary round, went with an aggressive shot choice. He stepped back 10 yards from the shooting line and chose to shoot at a mock-bear target 40 yards out.
“You’ve got to hit the vitals [area],” he said prior to shooting.
At first, it seemed as though he had hit inside the target area. Robert Dover then followed with a nearly identical hit, but upon further inspection, it was determined that both had barely missed. Tony Calloura and Adriaan Kendall then took their turns and missed as well.
Then it was Paget’s turn. But just as he stepped up to take his shot, a slight breeze turned into a strong wind. He adjusted his feet, took a deep breath and released. It didn’t take long for his arrow to hit dead center.
As the No. 6 archer, Cannello followed. But his arrow punched in slightly low.
“That was it,” Cannello said. “We had been shooting for more than an hour and suddenly it was done. I wasn’t happy with the way it ended, but it played out exactly as we had planned before we started. That’s how knock-out target shooting works.”
The remaining archers battled for second place, but even that took less than 10 minutes. Following successive shots, Cannello earned runner up honors and Dover claimed third.
“Next time, we’ll try to figure out a format that works better, or at least allows us to have a longer competition,” Cannello said. “It seemed like people enjoyed competing and this was the type of event I had envisioned hosting when we first started planning the range last year.”
Rowland said that perhaps the best thing about the range was that it has helped foster a community among archers on base, and that hopefully, the inaugural archery competition can help build awareness about the sport and bring more users out to the range on the base’s south side.
“We constructed the archery range as part of Schriever’s Single Airman Initiative,” he said. “We would like to see more single Airmen using it.”
The Schriever Fitness Center has bows and arrows available for use at the archery range. For more information about the range, its availability and rules for use, call 567-6628 or visit the Schriever Fitness Center.